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BAM/PFA’s new website brimming with art and film resources

| 20 August 2003

 






The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) has launched a redesigned website, www.bampfa.berkeley.edu, offering greater online resources on art and film than any other museum website in the Bay Area — and more than most museums in the United States.

“We’re most excited about the sheer quality and quantity of the resources we’re making available through our website,” said museum deputy director of audience development Rod Macneil. “For any one day, you can see what’s happening at BAM/PFA, from educational programs to gallery exhibitions to film screenings. This represents better than ever the remarkable breadth of our programs.”

Casual visitors will enjoy searchable event calendars, while serious scholars will most appreciate exploring the depth of the museum’s collections, according to Macneil. Easy access will be key for both kinds of users.

New features include:
• A searchable calendar of all BAM/PFA exhibitions, film screenings, and public programs;

• Access to information about the entire permanent BAM/PFA collection of art and film;

• A greatly expanded archive of film-related materials, including rare and historic material;

• Access to information on the collections of 11 California museums;

• The largest online museum store in California, with more than 4,000 titles.

Produced by BAM/PFA’s digital media department, the website is one of several of groundbreaking initiatives undertaken by the museum, which launched one of the world’s first museum websites in 1994.

While guidelines for preserving traditional art forms, such as painting, drawing, and sculpture, are well established in museums worldwide, no such standards exist for digital art. In partnership with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and other renowned cultural institutions, BAM/PFA is creating a model for preserving and documenting not only digital art but also other impermanent art forms, including performance art, installation art, and conceptual art.

The BAM/PFA site provides unparalleled access to not only the museum and film archive collections, but also those of other important cultural institutions, all of which can be searched simultaneously. For the past six years BAM/PFA has led the Museums Online Archive of California (MOAC), an effort to make the collections of 11 California museums and libraries available online.

Through MOAC, visitors to the BAM/PFA website will be able to search simultaneously 62,000 records with images, documenting the collections of such institutions as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Japanese American National Museum, the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, and the California Museum of Photography.

Internet users can also use the new website to engage with exhibition and film programs at BAM/PFA through “Conversations,” an online forum. Challenging the notion that communication between the artist and viewer flows only one way, the forum uses interactive technology to spark ongoing, open discussions. Audiences from around the world use the forum to see and hear contemporary artists speak about their work, listen to international scholars discuss art and film, and listen to firsthand observations by museum visitors, recorded in the museum galleries.